Who said again that every long journey begins with a small step? I never enjoyed beginning things. Beginnings are always so bleak with unfulfilled expectancy. I am one of those people who has a good idea, then as I over-analyse said idea over a period of several days or weeks, the brightness dims until I find myself in a certain darkness wondering why I ever thought that idea would work to begin with. I am a slow mover, and an even slower shaker. But I can move and shake none the less. If you are reading this, it means you are now slowly jolted back and forth by my decision to begin something new. But what that really means is that my over-analyzing self has not caught up to me yet, causing me to turn away.
Welcome, stranger, to this Blog titled “That Blinding Light”.
Should I explain the title? When I asked my mother what she thought of the title, she said that with such a title, I should dedicate my blog to the holiness of God. The title is most certainly an allusion to the passage in Acts where Saul, the persecutor, on his way to Damascus is struck to the earth with the sudden, brilliant heaviness of God and what was left of Saul then? Blindness. A holy and awful blindness.
“So, you should dedicate it to God.” she says, “Because God is just so Holy. Get off the fence and do at least that for him.”
But the story of Saul, the persecutor was not the primary inspiration for the title. The real inspiration grew from this comprehension that light can either blind or illuminate. And I like that thought. Light can be a dangerous, but light is still all the more beautiful for its various properties of illumination, color and warmth. If and when I die, I hope the lighting is nice when they lower me into the earth. I know its morbid, but I love light. So then, even in the blindness of death I want light to be there.
We have this saying in American English ( I say “American” because I have no inkling whether Britons use this idiom) that describes us humans when we are caught in a moment and our real intentions or fears are illuminated as we stare into a blinding light of truth. “Like a deer caught in the headlights” is how it goes. But the variation of this phrase I appreciate more removes the deer part – which then makes the phrase simply as “caught in the headlights” – to further illustrate the understanding of both total illumination and utter blindness. God is that light to me. That beautiful light. That beautiful, blinding light. I am caught and held fast to the earth by a light that penetrates past my darkest understandings into the inner sanctum of my soul.
The direction I see this blog going is as a philosophical narrative on poetry interlaced with photography. These are two art forms that I love and actively pursue. I also hope to upload several blog posts that just talk about random things, like my life and whether or not I like cookies which I do. On a deeper note, there are similarities to writing poetry, pursuing photography and finding a relationship with God. All of them involve being in tune with some energy or feeling outside of yourself that invariably influences you to do something, act a certain way or obey a certain law. Will my blog always make sense? I suppose that will be debatable.
Well this is the beginning of it all. I stand back from this blog post the same way a painter stands back from a freshly painted room. His hands are on his hips and his back is bent slightly to relieve the bones and muscles from the pressures of bending over. I stand back now and let you read this poem. Its about gulls. Sea gulls.
So read it. Then I will explain it and then, you will be done reading my first blog post.
From the height of a thousand windows,
the gulls see the city as silent.
The cars are silent, the people who
sit in them, are unheard. The sirens,
screeching brakes, salt powder,
rising smoke wisps, the bridges’ creaking,
even this does not penetrate the stillness
where the gulls raise.
The sun reflected from the
grey roofs is also silent and the gulls
turn there, reflected themselves. From the
height of thousand towers of concrete
and glass, the city is silent. and only
the gulls have a voice, “Boston,” they say,
“Boston.” Again and again, that
one word repeated like the trite phrase the beggars
use to find money. Fall on me, gulls,
like a semi-holy spirit. Fall on me, you uncouth
cousin of the dove, you piggish sister
of the eagle and owl. Fall on me
you mongering widows of the air,
you black eyed beasts with feathers that sing,
white and brilliant above the city.
Fall on me, and give me what I desire.
This poem sprung from the desire for privacy and silence. I am an introvert at heart and these two things are like water and air to me. Both are extremely valuable and necessary. I am attending a college in Boston and I room with three other wonderful gentlemen who also participate in my academic solidarity, in other words, they go to my same college. The unfortunate part of this all begins where I must interact with other humans constantly at my college then return to my dorm where three men are waiting to be informed of the menial details of my day. Do not read this wrongly. I hold nothing against them, or against simple dialogue. But sometimes privacy seems to be intangible and unattainable and silence itself seems to be swallowed by cacophony. I don’t find peace or release in speaking. I find those in silence.
Which is where the gulls come in. I look at them and envy them for the silence and privacy their wings provide. They can merely lift themselves until the city is a speckling of lights spread over a river that flows into the sea. Yes, my language at them is very bitter. I want them to fall on me and give me what I desire. Silence and privacy. They have it all, the gulls do. I envy them.
I don’t want to be a sea gull physically. That would defeat the purpose of my human existence. If God wanted my to be a bird he would have made me as one. Instead he made me a human who is blinded and illuminated at the same time by the utter beauty of the earth, and by the holiness of God.